First Japanese American to Serve in Massachusetts Legislature Selected to Go to Tokyo and Fukuoka Prefecture to Meet with Top Japanese Officials

BOSTON – Keiko Orrall, Massachusetts State Representative, will travel to Japan from March 7 to 15 on the 2014 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program, which brings ten prominent Japanese Americans to Japan for a week-long trip dedicated to building people-to-people connections with Japanese leaders. In its 14th year, JALD provides opportunities for Japanese Americans to establish a meaningful role in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations across all sectors of society.

Representative Orrall and the other delegates will visit Fukuoka in the Kyushu region, an economically and culturally dynamic prefecture where many Japanese Americans have their ancestral roots. They will also participate in a panel discussion sponsored by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and the U.S.-Japan Council (USJC), where Representative Orrall will present as a panelist. The delegates will then visit Tokyo, where past delegations have typically met with the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and top business executives, among others.  This will be Representative Orrall’s first visit to Japan.

Representative Orrall currently represents the 12th Bristol District of Massachusetts. She was elected as a state legislator in 2011. She is the Ranking Minority Member of the Joint Committees on Labor and Workforce Development as well as State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. She also serves on the Joint Committee on the Judiciary and the Joint Committee on Public Health. Representative Orrall is the first Japanese American to serve as a member of the Massachusetts Legislature. She has worked to encourage economic development with the cranberry industry and is focused on business expansion in Massachusetts. Prior to office, she taught public school, was involved in politics on a local level and led several successful grassroots campaigns. Representative Orrall earned a B.A. from Smith College.

“I am honored to be a part of this delegation and am looking forward to this trip to strengthen U.S.-Japan relationships,” said Representative Orrall. “My focus as a legislator is on expanding economic opportunities for Massachusetts.  This will be a wonderful way to see firsthand how Japanese companies are working internationally as well as to encourage further U.S.-Japan partnerships.”

The delegates come from across the country and are active in their communities, engaged in U.S.-Japan relations and committed to deepening ties between Japanese Americans and Japan. USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye will lead the delegation. The program is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and organized by USJC.

** Representative Orrall is available to comment before, during and after her trip to Japan. Contact USJC Communications Manager Shiori Okazaki at or 202-223-6843 to arrange an interview. For more information and biographies of all ten delegates visit: